Ceramic Industry

Time to Start Nit-Picking

October 17, 2008

In today’s economic climate, it can be tough to increase sales of even the most high-quality, innovative products. Keeping costs under control is vital to maintaining a healthy bottom line.

We all know that updating refractories or burners can provide healthy savings through reduced energy costs, or that new batching systems can reduce labor and maintenance expenses. Beyond those big-ticket cost reduction opportunities, though, are everyday opportunities for nit-picking. Depending on your situation, some of the tips below might be worth considering:

Limit travel. Don’t blow off your most important customer if they want a personal meeting, but with flying getting more and more expensive, it makes sense to stay put when possible. The technology that’s available today makes long-distance meetings and conferences easy and fairly inexpensive (especially when compared to the cost of a trip). And don’t underestimate the value of a simple e-mail or phone call; you can really accomplish a lot without ever leaving the office.

Seek out great deals. Service providers like car rental companies often offer reduced rates if you open a corporate account. Phone and Internet providers also provide great incentives for businesses. Now is a great time to renegotiate.

Don’t call or mail if an e-mail will do. It might take a little longer to type and send e-mails to colleagues, but the savings in long-distance charges will certainly add up. Likewise, if a file is available electronically, send it via e-mail vs. through the post office. Consider posting important documents to your company’s website so customers can access them directly.

Use the lowest setting on your printer. Ink cartridges are expensive. If you don’t need high-quality copies, the “draft” setting will often suffice.

Buy office supplies in bulk. The price per item will most likely be less, and larger orders often enjoy free shipping.

What are your tried-and-true cost savers? Please share your tips by entering a comment below.